National Water Quality Improvement Efforts – US EPA’s Total Maximum Daily Load Program

In 2011, The Center published a report summarizing and synthesizing recent studies that assess progress in implementing Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) and describing indicators that can be used to understand progress in watershed restoration.  It also overviews efforts to improve the ability of state and federal agencies to document the progress in TMDL implementation.  This report offers recommendations to guide future efforts to develop and use indicators of TMDL implementation and watershed restoration progress to help foster improvements in water quality throughout the US.

Published in 2008, the Center completed a study assessing the implementation of US EPA approved Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) in Ohio and West Virginia, focusing on the extent to which recommendations contained in TMDLs are actually implemented.  TMDLs identify the amount of a pollutant that a water body can receive and still comply with national and state water quality standards.  The results of the study addressed three specific issues: 1) To what extent are TMDLs being implemented in Ohio and West Virginia; 2) Identifying factors that facilitate progress in the implementation of TMDLs; and 3) Steps that can be taken to facilitate further progress in the implementation of TMDLs.